Hey everyone, I recently joined the forums basically to ask this one question: how can I increase my staff's productivity during downtime?
I'll give you a little background to my situation.
Before the economy went into the toilet in 2008, the restaurant I was working in as a Sous was doing approximately 2.2 million gross/year. After 2008, sales slowly declined hitting 2 million in 2009, 1.9 in 2010, and the trend is leading to 1.75 by the end of our current fiscal year. As a result of declining sales, my brigade has been dwindling due to layoffs, people quitting due to lack of hours, etc.. In 2009 our Exec left to our owners second location and I was promoted to Exec. I am now in my 2nd year of running my first kitchen.
On to the problem. So I've finally worked out a schedule where I can run my best/most loyal 4 cooks on 4-10 hour shifts per week and have the 2 others work part time filler shifts. This gives me flexibility in the schedule while saving approximately 35-40 man hours per week at a dollar savings of about 450/week. The issue is that because of the 10 hour shifts there is a lot of overlap during slow periods of the day and that leaves me with guys standing around doing jack. Initially this problem was solved by tearing the kitchen apart and bringing it to a lovely gleaming shine, but now a few weeks down the road, the kitchen is clean, the prep is done, the food goes out, and I'm stuck paying my premium hourly's to stand around with thumbs up their butts.
I need some suggestions on how I can utilize down time with these people. I'm already running a skeleton crew so short of firing me and bringing in a cheap KM there isn't much more we can do in the way of layoffs. Help me out so that my GM doesn't crawl down my throat for having people standing around and getting paid. I'm out of ideas...